In the third game of the season, Buck Showalter shoehorned Trevor Williams into a game under the auspices he needed to get the reliever work. In that game, Williams was credited with a blown save and a loss after allowing two unearned runs. After Williams blew that game, it seems like Showalter feels no need to get him into a game again.
In fact, since that game, Williams has only gotten into four more games. Aside from the “start,” each of those times the score differential was more than four runs. That included when the Atlanta Braves put a beating on the Mets. All told, whatever you want to call a low leverage reliever, that’s what Williams is.
It’s really bizarre when you look at is. For example, Sean Reid-Foley, a pitcher who was widely anticipated was going to be designated for assignment, was used on seven different occasions. He’s been on the IL for about two weeks now, and he still has three more appearances.
We have also seen some diminishing returns from Adam Ottavino. Ottavino has been mostly good with nine scoreless relief appearances out of his 12 appearances for the season. That said, Showalter also felt compelled to use him for three consecutive days in a series against the Braves. That helped lead to the aforementioned blowout and Williams’ fourth appearance of the season.
The problem there is the Mets need that one extra right-handed arm in the pen. Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Drew Smith are the late inning relievers. Joely Rodriguez and Chasen Shreve are there for the left-handed relievers. Ottavino was fine for the middle innings, and Trevor May was there for that bridge, but now he’s injured and gone for months.
This could have been a chance to see what Williams has in the tank. However, the Mets haven’t seemed inclined to use him at all. That was even the case in doubleheaders where a spot start opportunity was there. The Mets understandably and correctly went with David Peterson.
Williams was actually useful in the Mets bullpen last season, and he did show some promise. In eight appearances, he pitched 22.1 innings with a 9.3 K/9 and a 3.83 K/BB. Digging deeper, there is something there with Williams.
Generally speaking, he induces weaker contact than most pitchers, and batters have a hard time squaring the ball up against him. Typically speaking, he induces pull side ground balls. With the Mets ability to shift plus having Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil up the middle, this should play right into the Mets hands.
He has an effective sinker, and his change is a weapon. We’ve seen his sinker be one as well. There is something there with Williams even if that is being a long or low leverage reliever. Perhaps he could be more, especially refining things and working on pitch mixes with Jeremy Hefner, but he would have to get the reps to do that.
On the long reliever front, he’s been dormant for even that role. For example, Sean Gilmartin made 50 appearances in 2015, and we saw Darren Oliver make 45 appearances in 2006. So far, Williams is on a pace to make 21 appearances. That’s not going to help him, and it’s not going to help the rest of the bullpen.
Sooner or later, the Mets are going to have to give Williams more chances. They’re going to have to get him in a rhythm and try to establish himself as a real part of this bullpen. If he does, this bullpen is even better. If not, you can move on and find someone else. However, if you’re not pitching him, you can’t make any of these needed assessments. That needs to change soon.
The New York Mets had won seven straight series before a key divisional match-up against the Atlanta Braves. They would not make it an eighth straight series.
1. Last season, the Mets failed on multiple occasions to deliver a knockout blow to the Braves leading to the Braves buying at the deadline, winning the division, and eventually, winning the World Series. This was the Mets first chance to deliver a huge blow to the under .500 Braves, and instead, they let the Braves walk away with a split.
2. You can’t use Adam Ottavino for three straight games. That’s just an unforced error that helped lead to the Mets getting blown out.
3. Buck Showalter came into this season with a number of questions. Seeing how he burns Drew Smith for two innings instead of saving him for another day and used an injured Trevor May in a key spot, it would seem like he hasn’t improved in the slightest in this area.
5. If Bassitt wants to sign an extension, the Mets should sign him to one. This is a good pitcher who seems to like pitching here. You keep those guys.
6. The walks are starting to pile up with Megill. If he isn’t pounding the strike zone, he becomes vulnerable to the big inning. That is essentially what happened to him. Right now, this isn’t any cause for alarm.
7. All the metrics say Francisco Lindor is hitting the ball very well, but the results aren’t there. Put another way, it’s too soon to overreact, but it is something we need to monitor.
9. Eduardo Escobar went from pleasant surprise and leader to looking like the player the Mets shouldn’t have jumped the market to sign. His hard hit rates are cratering as is his defense.
10. Starting J.D. Davis over Dominic Smith, especially with a right-handed pitcher starting is just plain wrong. With extended playing time, Davis’ struggles with any sort of velocity and with pitches up in the zone are magnified.
11. For all the focus on the struggles of the bullpen, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Smith have the final 2-3 innings locked down. Looking at that, building the rest of the bullpen is a much easier task until May returns from the IL.
12. It’s very interesting how May and Jacob deGrom were dealing with very similar injuries. What that says about the Mets is anyone’s guess.
13. The umpiring in this series was embarrassing. It helped cost one game with Dansby Swanson being ruled to have a double on a clear foul ball. Dom was called out on a pitch well out of the zone. Between this series and the Madison Bumgarner ejection in Arizona, the umpiring has been unacceptably poor this season. Really, you know it’s bad when Max Scherzer gets thrown out of a game when he’s not pitching.
14. The notion anything other than balls and strikes is not reviewable is ludicrous.
16. Players like Travis Jankowski and Guillorme deserve more respect. They fill their roles in perfectly and make this ball club infinitely better. Jankowski knows people won’t buy his jersey, but we will all cheer him on like he’s a superstar.
17. Carlos Carrasco has been amazing this season, and his eight innings not only helped the Mets pick up a win, but it also saved the bullpen.
18. Trevor Williams wasn’t great, but he took one for the team pitching 3.2 innings. Outings like this often get overlooked and under appreciated, but it is something which will really help the Mets in the long run. With May out, you do wonder if the Mets can give him more of a look out of the pen. After all, it’s not like they have other options.
19. The Showalter suspension was ridiculous, especially when you consider Stubby Clapp wasn’t suspended. You do wonder how much that impacted the Mets in the opener of the series, especially with Showalter being informed right before game time.
20. Alonso is heating up just when the Mets need his bat to carry this team. Hopefully, he can help carry the offense as they try to give the Philadelphia Phillies the knock out blow they failed to give the Braves.
After losing the opener of the four game set to the Atlanta Braves and playing their worst baseball of the season, the New York Mets had a doubleheaders scheduled. With maybe not as important in the grand scheme of things, the Mets actually needed to sweep that doubleheader to continue their streak of winning their eighth series to start the season.
They did just that.
In the first game, the Mets jumped all over Charlie Morton not giving him a chance. Now, this wasn’t the Mets hitting bombs, but rather, they kept making contact and putting it where they ain’t.
It all started with surprise lead-off hitter Travis Jankowski hitting an infield single. After the perfunctory HBP, this time it was Francisco Lindor, the Mets got RBI singles from Pete Alonso and Eduardo Escobar to jump out to the early 2-0 lead.
Jankowski would be great in this game. He was a huge part of the Mets offense taking part in all of the run scoring rallies. He was there again in the second drawing a one out walk after Luis Guillorme‘s leadoff walk. Lindor hit an RBI groundout to drive home Guillorme, and again, it would be an Alonso single driving home Jankowski.
In the fourth, Jankowski put on a show with his speed. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, he stole second, and then took third on Travis d’Arnaud‘s wild throw. That permitted him to score on a Mark Canha sacrifice fly. Really, as Jankowski explained properly, he does those things a winning teams need to do.
"No one's gonna be buying my jersey. But I still think there's a big part of what I bring to the table that is very important and very needed to winning teams and championship teams, and that's what we have in this clubhouse" – Travis Jankowski pic.twitter.com/LSkTFcJEVb
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 4, 2022
Right there, the Mets had five runs. It would barely be enough.
David Peterson got the call up for the start with the doubleheader. For four innings, he was really good allowing just one run. It would fall apart in the fifth, which is a shame because he should have been out of the inning.
After Travis Demeritte hit a lead-off single, Guillermo Heredia struck out, and Ozzie Albies hit what should’ve been an inning ending double play. However, Peterson booted it leading to everyone being safe. On the very next pitch, Matt Olson hit a three run homer to pull the Braves within one.
The thing is, that’s the last run the Braves would score in the doubleheader.
The Mets bullpen was awesome. Adam Ottavino struck out two in his scoreless inning. Drew Smith struck out two over his two innings. Finally, Edwin Diaz was unhittable yet again. With that, the Mets took the opener 5-4.
If you thought that pitching performance was impressive, you were in for a real treat with Carlos Carrasco in the second end.
After coming out of the gates red hot, Carrasco took a major step backwards in his last start. Given what happened last season, you could understand fans concerns. This start should have allayed all of those fears.
Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a lead-off double, which again gave rise to concerns of the first inning problems last year. Carrasco settled down to mow down the Braves and pitch the first of what was eight scoreless innings.
In doubleheaders, you need at least one starter to step up. When you don’t have that, you run the risk of absolutely burning out your bullpen. Carrasco being the first Mets starter to go eight innings was bigger than the start itself. He saved the Mets bullpen for the next day. This is what veteran leaders do.
After the second inning, Carrasco would allow just two more hits. He would put the Mets in line for a big win.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 4, 2022
After making the roster for good with the Robinson Cano DFA, Dominic Smith would get his first start since his 4-for-4 game. He picked right up where he left off hitting a two run double in his first at-bat to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead.
With respect to Dom, it is important to note just how horrid the umpiring was in these games and overall. For example, when Peterson allowed his first run of the game in the first end of the doubleheader, the ball that was hit was clearly foul. However, due to inane MLB replay rules, it was not reviewable.
That was definitely a foul ball. pic.twitter.com/D69swJvbSy
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) May 3, 2022
With respect to Smith, one of his issues this season has been horrendous strike calls against him. We saw it again in the sixth with Smith striking out on a pitch that was a foot off of the plate.
When the umpiring is so bad you get tossed on your day off.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) May 4, 2022
This call was too much for everyone to take. In fact, after seeing this strike call, and really, the umpiring so far in this series, Max Scherzer would actually get ejected for arguing balls and strikes. This was actually the second time in his career he was ejected with both times coming in games he didn’t pitch.
The Mets would wind up winning this game 3-0. The second run came on a monster Alonso home run to the opposite field. Alonso has been shooting that way all year, and now, he has a big homer out there:
Pete crushed this one. 💪
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 4, 2022
This was a big day for Alonso. Between the two games, he was 4-for-8 with a homer and three RBI. This is the type of hitter we have seen him be, and this is the type of hitter who can carry the Mets offense like he did in these two games.
After Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season, the Mets completed the doubleheader sweep. That was with the help of six scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Overall, this was not the Mets who have struggled against the Braves. This is a Mets team ready to make a statement. They did in this game and have a chance to win an eighth straight series to start the season and let the Braves know this division belongs to the Mets.
After a 7-3 start to the season, there was genuine excitement about this New York Mets team, but there was still some naysayers. After all, the Mets were beating up on the likes of the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Some questioned how the Mets would fare against a good team.
On that note, the San Francisco Giants came to town. Last season, the Giants led the majors with 107 wins, and they were off to a 7-2 start. Simply put, this series was going to be a real litmus test for the Mets.
Things did not get off to a great start. Tylor Megill, who had been great in place of Jacob deGrom finally struggled. The pitcher who was unscored upon would allow four runs over six. Fortunately, the Mets would tie the game in the fifth on RBI doubles by Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor. The score stayed that way until it was sent to extra innings.
With extra innings comes the gimmick Manfred Man on second base. Brandon Belt was the runner, and he would move to third on a Wilmer Flores flyout. After walking Darin Ruf, Brandon Crawford lined out. That left Thairo Estrada for Adam Ottavino. Estrada would hit a routine grounder to Lindor, but Lindor made an errant throw:
— MLB Replays (@MLBReplays) April 19, 2022
Initially, the umpires ruled Pete Alonso was pulled off the bag. However, upon replay, we saw Alonso made an incredible stretch to stay on the bag. That kept the game tied for the Mets to walk it off on a Lindor game winning RBI single.
That stretch was a key moment in the Mets winning that game. From there, the Mets went on to sweep the doubleheader and take three out of four from the Giants. As a result, the Mets proved they can beat a good team.
That moment was also indicative of just how far Alonso has come. Alonso was known as a poor defender when he was first called up to the majors. He has since made tremendous strides to vastly improve there. As a result, Alonso has shown himself as a player who can help the Mets win with their defense, and that is why “The Strech” is the Mets Neon Moment of the Week!
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Like yesterday, the finale of the three game set between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies promised to be a real pitchers’ duel. It didn’t quite pan out that way due to the relative control issues of both starting pitchers.
With respect to Max Scherzer, he struggled out of the gate walking three in the first before he recorded two outs. As a testament to his status as a true ace, Scherzer would get out of it by striking out Jean Segura before getting Didi Gregorius to ground out to end the inning.
That first inning cost Scherzer as he would have to leave the game after five partially because he had already thrown 96 pitches. The only run he allowed was in the fourth when Bryson Stott singled home Nick Castellanos after Castellons led off the inning with a double. Overall, he left on the long side of the ledger after allowing one run on five hits and three walks while striking out seven.
By no means was this is good start by Scherzer, at least not by his standards. That said, it was more than good enough to get the Mets the win.
On the other side, Aaron Nola didn’t get out of the fourth. There may have been some issue with the ball early on because he too struggled with control to start the game, and he also walked three in the game. Still, the Mets were not able to get to him until Brandon Nimmo homered in the third:
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 13, 2022
The fourth inning is where the Mets offense started to take off. After Starling Marte singled to start the inning, Pete Alonso doubled him home. That’s when the Mets batters started getting plunked again. After Eduardo Escobar drew a walk, Mark Canha and Jeff McNeil would get plunked to force home a run.
After the Phillies got one in the fourth, the Mets got it back in the fifth. Francisco Lindor hit a one out double, and he would score on Alonso’s two out double. If nothing else, you could see in this game just how well Alonso is handling the DH position this season. In fact, he wasn’t done after those doubles.
In the sixth, the Mets appeared to blow the game wide open. Nido singled, and Nimmo walked. After a Lindor fielder’s choice advanced the runners, Marte drove home Nido with an RBI single. Alonso brought home the rest with a three run homer.
PEEEEETE!! 🐻❄️ pic.twitter.com/nUkjYtsirK
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 13, 2022
At that point, it was 8-1, and the Mets should have had smooth sailing. Of course, with the state of the Mets bullpen, that’s not what happened.
Sean Reid-Foley struggled. Right away, he hit Segura on the hand knocking him out of the game. SRF followed that by walking Gregorius. For a moment, it seemed Johan Camargo hit a two RBI double, but upon replay, it was ruled foul. Instead, Camargo brought one home with an RBI single. Successive RBI groundouts by Stott and Matt Vierling pulled the Phillies to within 8-3.
Buck Showalter went to Joely Rodriguez to get Kyle Schwarber and get out of the inning. Rodriguez did his job, but for some reason, with J.T. Realmuto leading off the next inning, Showalter stuck with him. Apparently, Showalter never learned his lesson.
Rodriguez would walk Realmuto and Bryce Harper back-to-back to start the inning. After letting him collect dust, Showalter went to Adam Ottavino. Ottavino was greeted with an excuse me RBI double, and then he allowed Alec Bohm to hit a sacrifice fly to pull the Phillies to within 8-5.
After Gregorius flew out to short, McNeil made a big play keeping a Camargo single in the infield. That kept Castellanos from scoring, and he would not score after Stott lined out to end the inning.
Fortunately, Seth Lugo would come on and pitch a perfect eighth to stabilize things.
In the top of the ninth, Escobar hit a one out triple against Bailey Falter. There was question whether it was a homer or not, but it was ruled fan interference. As Escobar busted it out of the box, and he made it safely to third, the umpires used their discretion in fan interference cases to put him on third.
Smith followed with a fly ball to shallow left. Joey Cora had another horrible send. With even a semi-competent throw, Escobar was dead to rights. Fortuantely, Castellanos made a horrendous throw, and Escobar was safe expanding the Mets lead to 9-5.
Edwin Diaz came on for the ninth, and he was greeted with a Harper homer. Diaz would rebound from there to get Castellanos to strike out. Diaz retired the final two. It was not a save situation, but considering the craziness of the final few innings, it might as well have been.
The Mets have now won their first two road series before returning home for Opening Day. All-in-all, it was an adventure, but the Mets held on to win.
Game Notes: Clayton Kershaw was pulled after seven perfect innings against the Minnesota Twins. Fortunately, the Los Angeles Dodgers would lose the perfect game and the no-hitter. Dominic Smith has had a terrible start to the season going 1-for-11 at the plate with eight strikeouts.
For all the talk about Buck Showalter being a good manager, there were concerns about his bullpen management and ability to adapt to the modern game. We are not a full week into the season, and we are not seeing signs of Showalter having adapted.
In terms of being more analytically inclined, we see Starling Marte batting second. Ideally speaking, your best hitter should bat second, and Marte is not the Mets best hitter. Instead, he is treated almost like a second lead-off hitter behind Brandon Nimmo because he is fast.
Speaking of Nimmo, we have seen Showalter ask him to sacrifice bunt. Nimmo has been their best hitter for years, and he’s being asked to sacrifice bunt. It’s one thing with Tomas Nido, even if that strategy is still questionable, but with Nimmo, it is just plain bizarre. With the implementation of the universal DH, you would think we not see the sacrifice bunt as a strategy, but with Showalter it is still a strategy.
More than the lineup and the sacrifice bunting, there is the way Showalter is handling the bullpen.
Before delving further, there is the caveat if Pete Alonso didn’t play poor defense, and if Seth Lugo didn’t struggle, we wouldn’t be talking about it. However, beyond that is the fact is Showalter made poor decisions putting pitchers in poor positions. That is what helped lead to the Mets blowing two late leads.
On Sunday, the Mets had a 2-1 lead in the eighth. He chose Trevor Williams for what was the Mets first high leverage relief situation of the season. Trevor May was available, and he warmed up at one point. Instead, Williams would be charged with a blown save. Yes, the caveat there is Alonso was terrible, and there were soft hits.
Another note is how Showalter used the Edwin Diaz less bullpen leading to that game.
In the previous game, the Mets won 5-0, and Showalter used Drew Smith and Adam Ottavino, two of his better options in the late innings. The game before that the Mets won 7-3, and Showalter used Smith and Lugo. To be fair, he would also use Sean Reid-Foley in that game.
Now, this was the first series of the season, and as we saw in that series, Showalter was just trying to get everyone involved. For example, every position player played just one game. Still, why was Showalter using Lugo, May, and Ottavino in spots where he could have been getting pithcers like Williams into games?
On that point, Showalter did say, “We’re too early in the season to be throwing guys three out of four days. We said the whole offseason with the lockout and everything that we’re going to be careful.”
Now, there is something to losing the battle to win the war. He’s right that its way too early to abuse relievers, and he does need to keep everyone fresh. On these points, Showalter has managed successfully many years, and there is some level of expertise to which we can demur.
That doesn’t explain the loss to the Phillies. Before getting to the game, we need to revisit what May would say after the game:
Trevor May discusses the extent of his fatigued arm: pic.twitter.com/H0DdRwGw37
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 12, 2022
He’s been battling bicep and tricep soreness, and he’s been getting treatments. He isn’t accustomed to pitching multiple innings. In fact, he hasn’t done that since 2020. Notably, he performed poorly both times.
Going back to the eighth inning, Showalter had a reliever he knew was dealing with shoulder issues and doesn’t go multiple innings. More than that, it was cold. In a day, Showalter went from you can’t push relievers to pushing a reliever he knew was dealing with arm issues. It doesn’t make sense.
Another factor at play was Lugo was apparently available. As we know, Lugo performs better when he’s starting an inning. The Mets could’ve avoided the whole mess of the inning if they went with Lugo to start the inning. Sure, Lugo probably still struggles, but the Mets could have then pivoted to a Smith or Ottavino if needed.
Instead, it was May then Joely Rodriguez, which made zero sense.
Remember, Rodriguez is horrific against right-handed batters. It was one of the reasons the swap between him and Miguel Castro made no sense. Rodriguez was warming, but May’s injury could have allowed Showalter to pivot and pitch whomever he wanted.
There was a runner on first with no outs. The right-handed hitting Matt Vierling was due up, and the Phillies had other right-handed hitting options on the bench. After the pinch hitter, which was the switch hitting Johan Camargo, the Phillies had Kyle Schwarber followed by J.T. Realmuto before Bryce Harper.
To get Schwarber and Harper, Showalter opted to have Rodriguez face Camargo and Realmuto with no outs. Camargo singled sending Alec Bohm to third. That allowed a run to score on the Schwarber RBI groundout. Realmuto then launched a homer to pull the Phillies within 4-3.
Lugo can and should get out of that situation. Then again, he should not have been brought into that spot. It should not have been. May should not have started that inning, and Rodriguez should not have followed. It was all a mess created by Showalter.
If this was Luis Rojas, writers and fans would have been livid, and they would have demanded he be fired. In fact, when the games were scripted for Rojas, these are the types of things that happened. Now, that Showalter is doing it on his own volition, he’s getting a pass.
In actuality, he shouldn’t. The ignoring analytics. The bunting. The bullpen management. These were all issues present when he was hired, and Showalter hasn’t shown any signs of progress or any willingness. These are problems before we even address leaning on veterans like Robinson Cano. There is still 157 games for Showalter to adjust and learn. The Mets need him to do it.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 10, 2022
Over six shutout innings, he only allowed three hits and one walk while striking out eight. He was never really challenged, and he was in sync with James McCann.
In terms of McCann, he’s looked better behind the plate than last year. He’d also get the game winning rally started with a leadoff single in the fifth.
PEEEEEETE!!! GRAND SLAM!!!! pic.twitter.com/fm6P4zbQTe
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 10, 2022
It was Alonso’s first career grand slam. Also, after he and other Mets have been plunked in this series, including Marte tonight, he had quite the bat flip.
A thing of beauty! 🐻❄️ pic.twitter.com/pANnEA02SW
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 10, 2022
Like everyone else, they would each contribute. That includes Jankowski who became the first Met to steal two bases in his first start.
Give Travis Jankowski two steals on the night pic.twitter.com/GrKmPtVbQb
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 10, 2022
That 4-0 lead grew to 5-0 in the ninth as Nimmo went to work. He hit a leadoff double, and he went to third as he tagged up on a Marte fly out. That put him in position to score when Andres Machado threw a wild pitch.
Fifth run of the game, IN pic.twitter.com/8pILWY6ZdA
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 10, 2022
Game Notes: Edwin Diaz was unavailable as he was on the bereavement list after his grandfather’s death. Lindor made his second error of the season. For the first time since 2015, the Mets begin the season 3-0.
Nothing about this Opening Day was as the New York Mets expected. It was delayed by the lockout, and then, it was pushed back to 7:05 only to be rain delayed to 8:21.
Maybe things are different with Buck Showalter, and maybe this is just the Mets Opening Day mojo. Whatever it was, it worked.
It all started with Megill. He was amped throwing 99 MPH in the first, and he was pacing the dugout like Max Scherzer. He had the results to back that up.
In his five shutout innings, Megill easily dealt with the little adversity he faced.
In the second, after a one out double by Keibert Ruiz, Francisco Lindor made an error putting runners on first and second with one out. Megill got out of it by getting Mets killer Maikel Franco (he would have five unassisted put outs at third) to hit into an inning ending double play.
Megill needed to keep the Mets off the board because Patrick Corbin was keeping the Mets off the board for the first four innings despite not really having anything.
Then, the Mets first rally of the season started with Cano getting a bunt base hit against the shift. Canha walked, and McNeil singled loaded the bases with no outs.
In 2021, this was a death knell for the Mets. Those concerns were abated when James McCann was hit with a pitch giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.
1st time in Mets history that their first run of the season scored on an Opening Day HBP
— Mark Simon (@MarkASimonSays) April 8, 2022
Starling Marte followed with what could’ve been an inning ending 5-5-3 double play, but Franco’s throw to first was wide giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.
At that point, Victor Arano was in for Corbin. With J.D. Davis getting the start at DH because he kills Corbin, everyone, including GKR wondered why Dominic Smith wasn’t pinch hitting. We all wondered why all the more when Davis hit into the inning ending double play.
In the sixth, Alonso had a one out single, and Cano had a two out walk. Finally, Canha delivered the Mets first RBI hit with a single giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 8, 2022
McNeill followed him with a two out RBI single of his own. For McNeil, it was a return to what we saw from him before his down 2021 season. He was 2-for-4 with an RBI and strikeout.
The Nationals got one back in the sixth when Trevor May yielded a bomb to Soto. The Mets got that run back in the top of the seventh on a Lindor RBI single.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 8, 2022
This is a game where nearly everyone contributed. That included Travis Jankowski who pinch ran and stayed on to play center moving McNeil back to second. Jankowski had pinch ran for Cano who was 2-for-3 with two runs and a walk. McCann was the only Mets starter without a hit, but he was hit by pitches twice.
#Mets catchers to be hit by a pitch twice in one game:
**James McCann, tonight
John Buck, 7/22/13
Josh Thole, 7/30/11
**Gary Carter, 4/9/85
** = Opening Day
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) April 8, 2022
Overall, this is Mets Opening Day baseball. They win, and they tend to dominate with Megill being the fourth straight Opening Day starter to not allow a run.
Game Notes: Megill had the fewest career innings of any Mets Opening Day starter. Scherzer was the first Met introduced to a warm ovation from Nationals fans. With Marte wearing 6, McNeill switched to 1. Alonso was lifted in the ninth after getting hit by a pitch in the shoulder which ricocheted off his mouth.
After dealing with injuries for two straight seasons, Jacob deGrom had to be scratched with a shoulder issue. With deGrom injured, there’s just no way the New York Mets can win this year.
Right away, those plans have been blown up. What’s left is an interesting roster, but one with holes across the board.
Instead of building a great bullpen, the Mets let Aaron Loup go and replaced him with Adam Ottavino and Chasen Shreve. With that they took an under-performing unit in 2021 and made it worse. Basically, they’re relying on Seth Lugo and Drew Smith to stay healthy, which is like expecting deGrom to be healthy as well.
Lugo and Smith aren’t the only injury concerns. There is also their entire starting outfield of Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Brandon Nimmo. That trio never lasts a full season, and to compound matters, the team isn’t carrying a real fourth outfielder on the roster.
Fielding is also an issue. Eduardo Escobar isn’t a third baseman. Jeff McNeil refused to follow the defensive alignments. Then, there is the matter of James McCann behind the plate. He wasn’t what the Mets anticipated what he would be, and instead, he was McCann from before his career year.
Other areas of concern include exactly how the DH situation will be resolved. Robinson Cano probably has the best bat, but that is also when he is using steroids. Dominic Smith is a better first baseman, but the team won’t relegate Pete Alonso to DH because he is the crown jewel. Lets not mention J.D. Davis here either.
On that DH and fielding point, you wonder just how much the Mets are going to put out their best alignments in the field. There is some promise with Marte being named the right fielder, but then again, the team isn’t trying McNeil at third despite the fact he’s the best third baseman and really the only one on the roster. Looking at this Mets team, they could put out a Gold Glove caliber defense across the board, but they just refused to do so.
Likely, it is because even with the Wilpons gone, this team still isn’t just letting the baseball people make all the decisions. To be fair, that was a Sandy Alderson calling card. After all, he’s the guy who was rumored to have offered Michael Jordan a Major League deal when he was the Oakland Athletics GM, and Alderson did sign Tim Tebow. In the end, Alderson can’t just shake that carnival act part of the job. When and if he does, this Mets team will finally be special.
Sooner or later, things will change and people will catch-on. Until that point, we just have to move past today and look forward to the day when the Mets can sustain more than just one big injury to be contenders. To that point, Michael Conforto is still out there, and the team does have the money to address other areas. However, at this point, who knows?
The New York Mets have the rotation which can win them a World Series. That goes double when the top of your rotation is Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. That said, this is a roster which still needs help.
The outfield is more than set with Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, and Mark Canha. However, they are not a trio who historically lasts a season. That is going to leave the team shallow for good chunks of the season just hoping Khalil Lee figures it out or Nick Plummer can prove last season was him making his march to the majors.
The infield is also set, but that could be a problem as well. Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor seem to be well past their issues, and they promise to be an elite double play combination on the field and at the plate. Pete Alonso made strides defensively and has likely dedicated himself to be even better. However, Eduardo Escobar has always been a poor third baseman, and now, he is going to be asked to play there everyday.
The catching situation is a bit of a mess. James McCann regressed in all areas of his game last season. Unless he starts hitting or framing better, the Mets are going to have to try to pivot to Tomas Nido depsite McCann’s big contract. On that note, Nido remains elite defensively, but he still has issues at the plate.
Looking at the bench, Dominic Smith is a first baseman, and J.D. Davis has no position, which admittedly is much less of an issue with the DH. Robinson Cano has the contract and bat to justify playing everyday, but that is only if he is Cano. Really, at this point, no one knows if he can, but you have to assume with the backing of Buck Showalter he just might get the opportunity to prove he still is.
Luis Guillorme is a great defender who will struggle to find playing time. His pinch hitting ability has also been neutralized with the universal DH. Fortunately, he does seem to finally have a believer in what he brings to a team in Showalter.
Honestly, the concerns over the bullpen is muchado about nothing. Edwin Diaz can close even if he’s not the most reliable. Trevor May is a very good late inning reliever. With the injury concerns past him, Seth Lugo can get back to being Lugo. Drew Smith is on the verge of a breakout. Miguel Castro is good against left-handed batters, and Adam Ottavino gives a different look.
With all the pitching the Mets have a great mix and actual depth which goes down to the Triple-A level. It is something they have not had in quite some time. However, as noted, from a position player standpoint, this team needs some real help. It’s another reminder Michael Conforto is still a free agent, and maybe, it’s a call for one of the players in the organization to step forward and claim a spot.
The Mets need that to happen because the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers continue attacking this offseason looking to push towards winning the 2022 World Series. The Mets have the pitching to get there, but now , they really need to make sure they have everything else.